Update: You can now get a lot of personal finance software functionality from Microsoft Money in Excel, an Excel template from Microsoft. It uses a third-party company called Plaid to automatically download your transactions from your bank and credit card accounts.
An interesting opportunity to get full-quality major software company retail money management, budgeting, and small business accounting software for free is now in affect. Microsoft has decided to get out of the financial software business, in effect ceding the market to Intuit and its Quicken and QuickBooks software products. However, thousands of copies of Microsoft Money software are installed by users all over the world, and they depend upon Microsoft Money to manage their finances on the computer. Just abandoning these users would be bad business strategy, so Microsoft has released a new free version of Microsoft Money for download.
Unlike earlier versions of Microsoft Money, the newest version of MS Money does not have any online functionality. These kind of automatic Internet links to bank accounts and brokerage accounts require frequent updating and the company doesn’t want to get stuck doing that forever. Instead, Microsoft has released the last version of Microsoft Money called the Sunset edition. This version of Money contains all the functionality of the full-price retail version of the MS Money except for that online connectivity.
The sunset edition is stand-alone software, meaning that it no longer links to anything. For some users this might be a drawback, but for small business owners and entrepreneurs looking for a way to manage their finances and handle basic business accounting, this is great news.
Microsoft has released sunset versions of all MS Money editions including Microsoft Money Home and Business. That means that small business owners can download and install Microsoft’s full small business edition of Money and use it forever for free. Keeping track of business expenses, invoices, and even small business tax deductions is all a snap with MS Money Home and Business.
The only reason I haven’t used something like it for a long time in order to handle my freelance writing business‘s finances is because I did not want to pay for full version software, mostly because both Money and Quicken require you to keep paying for the software in order to keep getting the required updates. It would be one thing if not updating the software left you with only your current functionality (after all, there is no such thing as a free lunch), but these financial management software packages come with time bombs that eventually render them useless even if you don’t use the new functionality or features.
Of course, the excuse for this Quicken and QuickBooks scam is that it is for our own good because they don’t want us relying on out of date information. They have a point, but if you are savvy about money management, you don’t really rely on the generic advice provided by your computer software anyway, so it stinks for us.
That is what makes this once in a lifetime opportunity to get financial software free from a major vendor such a great deal. While Microsoft Money will never be updated again, it will also never be expired either. That means that once you get all of your MS Money accounts setup and working the way you want to, you can keep using them as long as you would like.
Even if you don’t have a small business, if you are even considering ever starting up a business you should download the MS Money Home and Business Sunset Edition. It has all the same functionality and features as Microsoft Money Sunset Edition Home edition plus the features needed for small business owners. If you don’t have a small business yet, just don’t create a business account with Microsoft Money and it will work just like the regular personal version. Just keeping track of equipment and taking the Section 179 Deduction for business will make it worth your effort.
It’s free, so get the best edition you can. You might need it some day, because this simple small business accounting software could last you a long time.